Collective Redress in Environmental Matters in the EU: A Role Model or a ‘Problem Child’?

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Series Details Vol.41, No.3, August 2014, p257–273
Publication Date August 2014
ISSN 1566-6573
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The issue of collective redress in the European Union (EU) has been gaining increasing attention thanks to recent initiatives on the part of the European Institutions. European action in the field of collective litigation in competition and consumer matters is, however, still at an early stage of development. In environmental matters, however, while not primarily EU-driven, there is already a well-established framework of collective litigation established by the Aarhus Convention.

The subject matter of this article is whether the mechanisms of collective redress envisaged by this international Convention are working within the EU legal system as they should. After providing some background on the special features of environmental law (which affect their enforcement modalities) and an overview of the mechanisms of collective litigation in the Member States, this article will contextualize the issue of collective redress in environmental matters in the framework of the Aarhus Convention, and will explore the current obstacles faced in the enforcement of EU environmental law before national courts.

This analysis provides some ground to draw a conclusion as to whether the current system of collective redress in environmental matters can be regarded as a model for the current debate on this topic for competition and consumer issues.

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